Royal Charter for the College of William and Mary
Credit: Special Collections and Research Center, Swem Library, the College of William and Mary
Original Author: King William and Queen Mary
Created: ca. 1693
Medium: Handwritten charter

Royal Charter for the College of William and Mary

The first page of this copy of the 1693 royal charter permitting the creation of the College of William and Mary sets out the reasons for the institution's establishment: "that the Church of Virginia may be furnished with a Seminary of Ministers of the Gospell, & that the Youth may be piously educated in good Learning and Manners, & that the Christian faith may be propagated amongst the Western Indians to the Glory of Almighty God." The college was to be a "place of Universall Study … for sacred Theology, Philosophy, the Languages, & other good Arts & Sciences, Consisting of one President, Six Masters or Professors & one hundred Schollars more or less." (Some contractions have been expanded in this transcription.)

The Reverend James Blair, who had gone to London in 1691 to seek the backing of King William and Queen Mary for the college, was named president for life in the charter. (During his lengthy absence abroad, his wife, Sarah Harrison Blair, had to manage all their affairs in Virginia.) Blair brought back both Latin and English versions of the twelve-page document. This copy of the charter is believed to have been made for Sir Edmund Andros, who was serving as Virginia governor at the time.